Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Jimmy Leg

As Hamlet put it; "To sleep, perchance to dream."

The chance would be a fine thing. Yes it's that archetypal pregnant woman lament "I can't sleep! I can't get comfortable!"

And I'm not even trying to sleep on my stomach with my arms and legs all in the air kicking around - like the reverse of an upside down beetle. Although I definitely think that is a fun image. Almost worth trying in fact. You've seen those photos of Alyn on the exercise ball, right?

Anyway, my insomniac adventures all started with the Jimmy Leg.

You know the Jimmy Leg right?

Just before you go to sleep, just as you drop off into the land of Lethe, as you climb into the boat of Nod and drift away on the currents of the subconscious. You get the Jimmy Leg. The involuntary but violent jerk of the leg. Aah come on admit it, we all know it well.

Dave is the King of the Jimmy Leg. One thrash of the lower limb and he is as asleep as anyone was ever asleep in their whole sleepy lives.

Well now I have Pregnancy Jimmy Leg...which is kind of an on-going traditional Jimmy Leg situation.

There is just something plain wrong with my legs. They just won't settle down. It's like they've got a life of their own. They are like 2 kids squirming on the pew at a church service. I've tried bribing them with fruit pastilles, but it just doesn't work.

They twitch. They thrash. They're too hot. They're too cold. They're too straight. They're too bendy. They lie this way. They lie that way. But will they go to sleep? Only if you mean literally. The right leg likes to cramp up at about 7 in the morning. Bless its cotton & polyester bedsocks.

But the legs are the least of the problem.

You see when you are pregnant they make up all these strange rules and then to enforce them - they tell you that you will be harming the baby if you don't. Cuh, they are cunning these Baby Nazis I tell you.

So you're not supposed to lie on your back cos it cuts off circulation and will impede your child from being good at algebra in the future. Also they will never be able to hold their knives properly when they eat.

Clearly you can't lie on your front.

And really you shouldn't lie on your right side.

So in fact all you can do is lie on your left side. This enables baby to get maximum nutrition and encourages baby to snuggle in the correct birthing position so it doesn't have to spin like a top in order to get out.

Ok, but what about shoulders?

Where do shoulders fit into this plan?

I have shoulders people. Big, broad, man-like shoulders (without the hair).

And I've never practised sleeping on my side. I'm a belly/back girl. But I don't want to harm my child so that its eyelashes never curl and other devastating effects of sleeping on your back.

But where does my left shoulder go? I mean OUCH. It is all scrunched up so my back is all scrunched up so my legs are all scrunched up. Yikes. It hurts.

And then I just have to SIGH. Thrash the Jimmy Legs. Kick the duvet. Fuss with my pillows. Roll onto my back.

But then I am in a VERBOTEN position. So I start to fear for my child's safety and ability to remember the difference between desert and dessert....

So I roll onto my right. So my right shoulder is all scrunched up and my back is all scrunched up and my legs are all scrunched up. And anyway I am in a semi-VERBOTEN position...depriving my child of maximum nutritional input and birthing positionality.

So I have to SIGH LOUDER, THRASH the Jimmy legs HARDER, kick the duvet more violently. Fuss with my pillows more dramatically....and roll back onto my left side.

But oh my shoulders! My back! My legs!

Just about the only thing that doesn't hurt is my big belly.

Needless to say, even Dave - master of the Jimmy Leg - cannot sleep through all of this thrashing about.

So we are both tired.

Please - you side-sleeping experts - tell me what I am doing wrong. Or is it some immutable law of the universe that only nimble, small-shouldered individuals are designed to sleep comfortably on their sides???

Because the books say I should be trying to get lots of sleep now in preparation for the baby coming.


Clearly they don't know about the curse of the Jimmy Leg...

And the Jimmy Shoulders.

(which coincidentally is the name of the 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean Film).


Anonymous Sarah said...

Ah ha! Have you tried the pillow between the knees as you sleep on your left side routine.. this helps with the legs becoming uncomfortable... and puts them in a much better position for your spine to be in good position.. this is what my chiropractor told me... and also hopefully using cunning chiropractic pillow... to support spine etc...

2:30 PM  
Anonymous caroline <> said...

aaaaaaaah does not sound joyful! hmmm ...yes most of PL's (pregnant ladies)I have met have huge long pillows that they mould around their body, thus providing support apparently... also cuppo some sleepy herbal tea?

3:01 PM  
Blogger A.J. said...

Ok so Caroline and Sarah already said what I would say...
pillow between the knees,
chiropractic neck pillow,
I also have impressive shoulders of the female variety of the species and I sleep hugging a pillow when I am on my side which I find helps!

Hopefully some people that have actually been pregnant will have even more savvy tips!

3:44 PM  
Anonymous krist said...

so yeah, i've not been pregnant, but i have slept on my side for as long as i can remember. i love it! when sleeping on your left side, where are you putting your left arm? i find that if i curl my left arm in a kinda 90degree angle with hand under pillow right at my face, jaw line, i am doing good. also get hard, thick pillow, and position head on edge of it when sleeping on side. these pillows are a bit much, but if nothing else works i think they will:

3:56 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

All I can suggest is having a large pillow under your head to lift it up higher and not scrunch your shoulder, which kind of has already been said.

I will pray for you to get better sleep. I've never been pregnant but I have had insomnia so I know how horrible it is.

Love Ash x

5:26 PM  
Blogger Adele Richards said...

Ok so I have a pillow under my head - with my arm at a 90 degree angle....a pillow between my under my supporting my back...and a chiropractic pillow stuffed somewhere else.

Good stuff, people. You are like my gurus of sleep!

(Now where does Dave sleep? Cos with all those pillows he isn't getting a look in!!!)

10:34 PM  
Blogger A.J. said...

Dave smave!

3:50 AM  
Blogger Charlene said...

The Floor?

4:25 AM  
Anonymous Lynley Allan said...

Just let me say I know EXACTLY how you feel. Our solution was to buy a king sized bed so we could fit along with all the pillows and my trashing about. The other thing was to forget about what everyone says about not lying on your back and get some well needed sleep. If you wake up with tingling limbs then change to your side. I came to conclusion it was better for the baby that I wasn't so exhausted from not sleeping than not getting the optimum amount of blood flow. That horrible restless leg sydrome drove me to insomia until I took this action. I still wander the halls at night but much less than before.

1:27 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I agree with lots of pillows, does it really hurt the baby if you sleep on your back? How have babies been born throughtout the ages?

Mate do whatever gets you too sleep (that includes whisky ;0)


9:19 AM  
Blogger A.J. said...

King size bed!!! That's the "word" I would go with!! :-)

2:25 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Have you tried a mallet to the head? Or better still, Dave could dart you with an aboriginal, tranquilizer blowgun before bedtime.

8:34 PM  

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